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Indian Navy’s sixth Scorpene class submarine launched

Published : Apr 21, 2022 14:04 IST T+T-
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The sixth Scorpene-class submarine of Project-75, INS Vagsheer, being launched at Mazagon Dock in Mumbai.

The submarine, christened ‘Vagsheer’, will undergo harbour trials, wherein works on various equipment will commence. Thereafter, the crew will sail the submarine for Sea Acceptance Trials, after which it will be delivered to the Navy by late 2023.

Yard 11880, the sixth and last of the Indian Navy’s French Scorpene-class submarines, was launched into waters at Mazagon Dock Limited’s (MDL’s) Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin on April 20.

The submarine is part of the Navy’s Project 75, and the first submarine under this project was commissioned into the Navy in December 2017. At present the Navy has four submarines from this project–INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi (commissioned in September 2019), INS Karanj (March 2021) and INS Vela (November 2021). The fifth, ‘Vagir’, which was launched in November 2020, is undergoing sea trials and is likely to be commissioned before the end of 2022.

Built by the public sector Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (previously Mazagon Dock Limited) under a $3.75 billion technology transfer deal signed in October 2005 with France’s Naval Group, the six Scorpene-class submarines are designed to operate in all theatres, with enhanced interoperability with other components of a naval task force. Scorpene class submarines can undertake multifarious missions such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine-laying and area surveillance.

The latest submarine to roll out of MDL, christened ‘Vagsheer’, will undergo harbour trials, wherein works on various equipment will commence. Thereafter, the crew will sail the submarine for Sea Acceptance Trials, after which it will be delivered to the Navy by late 2023.

Incidentally, the India’s first submarine, Vagsheer, an ex-Russian (then Soviet Union) warship, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 26, 1974, and decommissioned on April 30, 1997.

The launch ceremony of the Vagsheer was attended by senior naval officers, including Vice Admiral A.B. Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command, and Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.

In June 2021, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, formally cleared India’s ambitious but long-delayed Rs.43,000-crore project to build six new generation stealth submarines with foreign collaboration under the strategic partnership model. The programme, codenamed Project-75 (I), with the “I” standing for India, is aimed at India’s capability to “progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces”. Project-75(I) is currently in the request for proposal stage.

The six conventional submarines will be equipped with state-of-the-art, air independent propulsion systems which will enable them to stay underwater for longer periods of time, enhancing their combat capabilities and providing the Navy with added underwater firepower.

The Indian Navy, which currently has in its inventory 16 conventional submarines and two nuclear submarines, is looking to acquire a total of 24 new submarines, including six nuclear attack submarines.

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